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NowCar Kia K3 Preview

Kia Reveals K3 in Mexico City

Written By, Jordan R

The Kia Corp is one automaker that seems quick to evolve. Several years ago, in 2018, the brand changed its design philosophy and made an announcement to start a new Kia GT-Line and design high-performance sports cars. What quickly followed were the Kia Stinger and then the Kia K5. In the following year, Kia also announced that it would become the next all-electric automaker, and we already have the EV6 and EV9, with the EV5 debuting overseas. The next big reveal is a model that could replace the Kia Forte – debuting in Mexico City, it’s the Kia K3!

A little surprising, we had no clue that a new generation of the Kia Forte was just around the corner. Perhaps Kia is making room for new performance models while the automaker can still cash in. Sedans and passenger cars have seen a drop in sales in North America, with most consumers looking at hatchbacks, crossovers, and SUVs. However, sports cars will never die or lose favor with enthusiasts and consumers with a need for speed. After Kia discontinued the Kia Stinger only a few years after its release and announced the Kia Stinger Tribute Edition, we wondered if the automaker had any plans to fill the space this sports car would leave behind, especially with its various GT trims. Although the automaker is focused on battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and purpose-built vehicles (PBVs), Kia doesn’t seem to be fiving up on performance and sports cars just yet – if anything, there new BEVs will be able to fill both shoes.

Focusing back on the Kia K3 debut, it’s a pretty easy guess that this new model is the replacement for the Forte, or at least the next generation of the vehicle. Back when Kia replaced the Kia Optima with the K5, it was the same car, revamped and restyled, of course. “K5” was just the name of the Optima overseas in South Korea. “K3” is the name for the Forte overseas. Interestingly enough, the new K3 is very distinct from the current Forte. If anything, the new K3 is taking after the larger Kia K5 for styling cues, such as a new front fascia with a thin, wide grille and headlights, the new and popular zig-zag look of the daytime running lights (DRLs) along the front bumper, and a much more muscular look overall for that true “sports car” feel. The K3 is smaller than the K5, going with a fastback shape for the overall body and smooth lines for aerodynamic performance. The rear fascia has a full-width taillight reminiscent of the Forte.

We also got a look inside at the digital instrument cluster and infotainment screen. Although most new Kia models have a duel screen setup for a total of 24 inches (12-inches each), the infotainment screen seen is only 10.25-inches – possibly the standard setup. The dashboard has been made much more simplified and clutter-free. Comfort is also a plus with air vents that stretched across the entire dash and behind the touchscreen panel. Below the air vents in the middle of the vehicle are controls for climate and the sound system. A little style from the EV6 bleeds in here too with the two-spoke steering wheel design.

In terms of power, they can always be different in South America and Europe, but the K3 reveal showed tow engine options – (1) a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine able to generate 121 horsepower, and (2) a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder able to generate 150 horsepower and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The former can come with a six-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Not sure which will be the base engine, but bets are on the 2.0-liter being the base option when the K3 comes to North America as well.

Not a lot of information on the tech just yet, but there’s plenty of time for new information to pop up. Intel says that the K3 will get here by 2025, maybe even next year (2024) for the 2025 model year. Follow along with us on NowCar social media for more information about the K3.

Photo Source/Copyright: Kia